GW30 was all about damage limitation. With a team ready to go for GW31 I had anticipated red arrows. We actually scored 46pts on a 41pt weekly average and moved up 6k places to 52k. It might not seem much but was massive for us given that we have all of our chips available ready for the crazy upcoming weeks.
Your eyes did not deceive you. Burnley really did keep a clean sheet. Their first in 9 meant Nick Pope returned a very decent haul for us.
At the back I had actually gambled on that clean sheet and named Ben Mee too. His 6pts was only the 3rd time he has put up more than 2pts since mid-December. He was joined by Christopher Schindler and a lovely 7pts. Funnily enough the last time Huddersfield kept a clean sheet was the same week Burnley last did. A very helpful week for them both too. To be fair his looked pretty safe from the moment Jordan Ayew got sent off for Swansea. Some fun stats from the Huddersfield/Swansea game. Shots 30-0, passes in the final 3rd 272-11, possession 80.8%-19.2%. That game could still be playing now and Swansea wouldn’t have scored. Marcos Alonso made up the back 3 and ‘thanks’ to a very late Palace goal he lost a much needed cleanie. It’s now just 6pts scored for Alonso in the last 6 GW’s.
In midfield I made a bit of a gamble last week and chose Willian over Eden Hazard with our transfer. It was a gamble which paid off in a big way. 10pts for the Brazilian was all our midfield could muster. That includes Mo Salah who was kept very quiet by Ashley Young. Go figure. His blank was only 5th time in 29 games that he has scored 2 or less. He now needs to average 7.25pts a game to beat Luis Suarez’s all time FPL record.
Up front it looked like a night out in my home town Eastbourne. 2’s everywhere! Harry Kane’s injury certainly didn’t help but neither did blanks for Callum Wilson and Roberto Firmino.
Somehow we managed to fairly successfully navigate a tough few weeks prior to the GW31 blank. The plan from here has been several weeks in the making and if someone had offered me an overall ranking of 52k heading into these weeks I’d have taken it all day long.
I only used 1 transfer last week leaving us 2 free transfers this week and they are as follows
Kane (OUT) – Tosun (IN)
Elliot (OUT) – Begovic (IN)
So we now enter GW31 with a full 11 man line up and have £10.4m sitting in the bank for the upcoming Wildcard.
In goal Asmir Begovic gets his first start for us. There were a few half decent options in goal but I chose the Bournemouth stopper for a couple reasons. We already have Huddersfield cover at the back so Lossl was left alone and I wanted Cenk Tosun so bringing in Jack Butland would have been an unnecessary conflict. Saying that, I am aware that Begovic only has 1 clean sheet in 17. We could really do with WBA being WBA.
Especially given that we also have Charlie Daniels. Certainly not looking like the same player we saw the last 2 seasons I’d be happy just to see him start. Anything after that is a bonus. Andrew Robertson on the other hand is a player I’m hopeful can bring us so points. The Scottish left back has been superb since making the LB spot his own and has defensive returns in 4 of the last 6 GW’s. He only has 2 assists with zero goal this season but his marauding runs suggest the attacking points aren’t far away. Christopher Schindler makes up the 3. Since GW16 only Man City and Spurs have stopped Palace scoring. If Wilf Zaha is back and starting I will be even less convinced of a Huddersfield clean sheet. The points would be great but I’m not expecting them.
Our midfield 4 feature in just 2 of the games this week. Mo Salah leads us into battle and with the Golden Boot in his crosshairs I expect him to bounce back from last weeks blank. Injuries to Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero mean the Egyptian is a huge odds on favourite to win it now. Richarlison starts for us in the same game. The Brazilian youngster has hit the proverbial brick wall. 19 games since scoring a goal and 9 games since an assist I’m expecting him to peak on 2pts here. Another player I’ll just be pleased to see start. Our other 2 mids are Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Home to Everton I think this is a both teams to score type game. Given form I’m a little more hopeful of something from Shaqiri than EMCM though.
With our front 3 I have no clue whether to expect 2pts from all or all to score. Roberto Firmino has 13 attacking returns in his last 13 GW’s so he’s certainly the best hope we have. Cenk Tosun struggled early on for Everton but has started the last 2 and scored in both. I’m still not sure what to expect from him but playing the team with the 2nd worst defence in the league means he will get chances. Callum Wilson is last up and goes into this week with 5 straight blanks. Following a superb run of form between GW’s 20-25 he’s really started to struggle. With Jermain Defoe back fit again and Josh King an option we will be lucky to have him start. If he does he has the quality to score.
So there we have it. No hits taken in the last 8 GW’s, no chips used yet and 11 available players this week I’m very happy with how the plan is going. I’d be disappointed if we didn’t see green arrows this week and then we can start to warm up the Wildcard ready for GW32.
As always our captain poll is below so please get involved and vote. But let’s all be honest here, there’s only one real option. Although saying that, if I know you lot as well as I think I do I’ll be expecting a few votes for Asmir Begovic 😉
Good luck to everyone and fingers crossed we all see green arrows some Saturday night.
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru)